Summary: How do we choose a good name when our names are chosen when we are born?
Proverbs 22 “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
After getting out of the army I went looking for work, made contact with an employer and was granted an interview. The interview went well and he told me I was hired. But as I was leaving he mentioned the name of one of my brothers and asked if I was related. When I told him I was his brother he said, “Never mind I have someone for the job already.”
Not having a good name or family name can cause problems for us in life. However, since we cannot chose our birth names or the family we are born into, this verse is not talking about our birth name.
Matthew mentions in his gospel an encounter Jesus had with a young man who had made a good name for himself starting from his early childhood. He had always honored his parents, never stole from or lied to others. He was faithful to his wife and demonstrated love for everyone he knew. He was well known because of that. Everyone liked him. He had a good name in his community. The man asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life and was told that his good name wasn’t good enough to make the grade.
In Luke 6 Jesus said; “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets,” so it is not about popularity.
Proverbs 16:2 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits.”
Proverbs 20:6 “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?”
Proverbs 21:2 “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.”
So it is not based on what we say or think about ourselves. The reality is that we will go to great lengths to prove to others that we are nice people even if it means lying or withhold information about ourselves.
So how does one go about you choosing that “Good Name?”
We are clearly told in the book of Acts, “…there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” That name is Jesus Christ.
It is in the choosing to be identified with and by that name that we have chosen not just a good name, but the Good Name.
It is the only name that matters when all is said and done.
The Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus, “…humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Our verse from Proverbs also tells us that we are to chose “Loving favor” as well.
“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.”
By choosing to be identified with and by the name of Jesus, we have chosen that good name and the loving favor of God which comes with that choice.
Proverbs 3:3-5 “Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, 4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” Jesus is the personification of mercy and truth. When I let Him adorn my life like jewelry around my neck, and make His mercy and his truth be etched upon my chart I know I have found favor with God. It is the only way I or anyone else can effectively deal with the mess we made of life in our own names.
Proverbs 16:5-7 tells us that; “In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for sin…”
Atonement = payment. It is in His name that my sin has been paid for. It is in His name that I realize I have been bought with a price and I am not my own anymore and have made the choice to live out the remainder of my life in His name instead of mine.
And it is in His name that I share this because “…He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.” Acts 10:42-43